Setting the Stage for Change
Anne Massaro is one of two directors leading the Enterprise Project’s Organizational Change Management (OCM) efforts. To educate and equip faculty, staff and students, the project’s OCM goals and strategies focus on stakeholder engagement, communications and learning.
Leading change requires a significant commitment to communication, and for changes associated with the Enterprise Project, leaders can begin by establishing an open and ongoing dialogue.
A leader’s role in change is to influence others in a positive direction. While we may not have all the answers ironed out just yet, we can set the stage for the coming changes by helping others recognize and anticipate the positive benefits ahead. What’s most important right now is engaging with your team about change.
I recommend every manager and Change Coordinator across our campuses and the Wexner Medical Center invite their teammates to a focused discussion about the Enterprise Project. Speak to the positive outcomes of the project. Ask caring questions, and give honest responses. Below are some pointers for your consideration.
- Ask open-ended questions that prompt authentic conversation, such as:
- What have you heard about the Enterprise Project?
- How might the project enhance the services we provide?
- What excites you and what concerns you?
- Share relevant information and resources with your team, including:
- The benefits to your department and the risks of maintaining current operations. Talk from your heart – what are you most excited about?
- The project website for news and to subscribe to receive updates via email.
- The Workday release schedule, noting project communications and learning opportunities will ramp up as we approach the first release in 2020.
- Things that are not changing! We will always have a need for staff to support the work of the university. We will keep hiring people, purchasing supplies, serving patients, applying for grants and so much more.
- Support your team by:
- Explaining that different people experience uncertainty in different ways. Some love change and some are more hesitant; varying levels of anxiety when the future is unknown is very normal.
- Inviting questions at any time – admitting you won’t always have answers, but you’re willing to do what you can to find them. Track the questions your team has and review them periodically to see what can be addressed as project decisions are made.
- Sharing about changes you have experienced, and strategies that help you during periods of transition.
As a leader, I often express my own need to understand “why.” In some changes I’ve experienced at work, I didn’t receive the rationale. These changes were the hardest for me. When a logical “why” is offered, I quickly move to acceptance. Communicating what I need often helps others share what they need most during change and it eliminates the pretense of being perfect or immune to change.
With open conversations like the ones outlined above, commitment and engagement will grow. It’s understandable to want to hold off until detailed answers are available, but it’s important to first begin the process of introducing change. We all like to know what’s ahead; start by sharing why we’re on this path!